Total Articles: 62
Fisher Phillips • June 28, 2018
Washington’s lawmakers and regulators have not taken a summer holiday this year, remaining active by passing new regulations based on legislation from the last legislative cycle or reacting to new case law by creating new legal obligations. Their actions continue to challenge Washington employers to keep up with evolving workplace laws. The good news? We’ve put together summaries of some of the more significant recent developments for you here.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • June 26, 2018
Seattle, Washington’s Office of Labor Standards (OLS) revised its rules concerning the Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance. The rules come about a year-and-a-half after the Ordinance was amended to better align with the state PSST law, which took effect January 1, 2018. Unsurprisingly, in many instances the revised rules incorporate state law standards. Although many revisions are merely linguistic changes that do not substantively alter existing rules, there are notable changes and deletions we will highlight, along with a new non-PSST rule that will affect leave management.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • June 11, 2018
A landmark law giving drivers of app-based transportation companies, such as Uber and Lyft, the right to collectively bargain is not preempted by the National Labor Relations Act, a three-member panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. City of Seattle, No. 17-35640 (9th Cir. May 11, 2018).
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 30, 2018
Washington State has joined a number of other jurisdictions, including the Washington cities of Seattle and Spokane, by passing a “ban-the-box” law, known as the Washington Fair Chance Act (HB 1298). The Act prohibits employers from obtaining any information about an applicant's criminal record (whether by a question on an application for employment, inquiring orally or in writing, receiving information through a criminal history background check, or otherwise) until after the employer initially determines that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position. It makes it unlawful for employers to advertise employment openings in a way that excludes people with criminal records from applying, or to implement a policy or practice that automatically or categorically excludes individuals with a criminal record from consideration prior to an initial determination that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position. Once the employer has initially determined that the applicant is otherwise qualified, the law does not restrict the employer from inquiring into or obtain information about a criminal record, although it also does not limit any existing restrictions that apply.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 30, 2018
Washington has adopted four new laws addressing workplace harassment and discrimination. Three prohibit limitations on an employee’s disclosure or public pursuit of discrimination or harassment claims, while the fourth requires the Washington State Human Rights Commission to develop model sexual harassment policies and “best practices” for employers. While these laws were motivated primarily by the #MeToo movement, one of them broadly attacks agreements for the private resolution of discrimination claims generally. The laws take effect on June 7, 2018.1
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 30, 2018
A new Washington law (SB 6027) impacts the scope of discovery of a plaintiff’s medical records in litigation brought under Washington’s Law Against Discrimination (“WLAD”). The law will become effective on June 7, 2018.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 17, 2018
Effective June 7, 2018, Washington State amended its domestic violence leave law to require employers to provide reasonable safety accommodations to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and to incorporate additional prohibitions on discriminating or retaliating against actual or perceived victims of domestic violence.1
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 16, 2018
Washington State has joined the ranks of jurisdictions that have adopted expanded equal pay legislation.1 The Equal Pay Opportunity Act (EPOA) was signed into law on March 21, 2018, and will take effect on June 7, 2018.2 The EPOA significantly expands Washington’s existing gender pay law for the first time since its enactment in 1943.3
Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 04, 2018
Responding to the national “#MeToo” movement, Washington has enacted four new workplace laws intended primarily to protect victims of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.
Ogletree Deakins • March 29, 2018
On March 21, 2018, Governor Jay Inslee signed the Equal Pay Opportunity Act (EPOA) into law, updating Washington’s 1943 Equal Pay Act. The 1943 Equal Pay Act created a private right of action for women who are paid less than similarly employed men because of their sex. This is the fourth year in a row the Washington legislature has considered updates to the 1943 act, which has not been modified since it was originally passed. This year, however, the EPOA gained traction and passed the Washington State House of Representatives and the Washington State Senate.
Ogletree Deakins • March 27, 2018
In response to the #MeToo movement, lawmakers in several states are introducing bills aimed at curbing workplace sexual harassment and addressing how complaints and resolutions are handled by employers. Washington is no exception, and the Washington state Legislature has passed three bills focused on new laws relating to sexual harassment. Each bill is briefly summarized below.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 25, 2018
Job applicants and employees in Washington who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking will have new protections against employment discrimination under a law that will go into effect on June 7, 2018.
Fisher Phillips • March 25, 2018
Washington has joined a growing list of states and cities to restrict criminal history inquiries in the hiring process with adoption of the Washington Fair Chance Act (2SHB 1298), signed into law on March 13, 2018. Beginning June 7, 2018, state law will prohibit public and private employers from asking about arrests or convictions until after an applicant is determined otherwise qualified for a position.
Fisher Phillips • March 25, 2018
With heightened attention on gender-based workplace discrimination, Washington recently passed new legislation that creates additional pay equity requirements for Washington employers. Signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee on March 21, 2018, HB 1506 will update and expand the state’s Equal Pay Act (EPA) for the first time since it was enacted in 1943.
Fisher Phillips • March 25, 2018
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement, Washington employers will soon need to comply with two new laws aimed at preventing sexual harassment and assault in the workplace while encouraging open discussion about such problems. The new laws—which most notably restrict your ability to require nondisclosure agreements covering sexual harassment—were unanimously passed by the state legislature on February 28, and Governor Jay Inslee signed them into law on March 21, 2018. What do you need to know about the new laws in order to stay in compliance?
Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 21, 2018
Effective June 6, 2018, Washington will be the next state to implement “ban the box” legislation restricting employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal background during the initial stages of the application process.
Washington has become the 11th state with a "ban the box" law affecting private employers after Governor Jay Inslee signed the Fair Chance Act. Effective June 6, 2018, Washington employers may not ask about arrests or convictions - or receive information through a criminal background check - before a job applicant is deemed otherwise qualified for a position.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 14, 2018
The Washington Legislature has sent Governor Jay Inslee a proposed Act that would significantly broaden the state’s Equal Pay and Opportunity Act. The Governor is expected to approve it.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • February 20, 2018
State and local jurisdictions have continued to consider and enact legislation restricting employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal background during the initial stages of the application process. Two of the latest enactments are in Spokane, Washington, and Kansas City, Missouri.
Ogletree Deakins • January 02, 2018
The City of Spokane, Washington, recently enacted Ordinance No. C-35564, making Spokane the second municipality (joining Seattle) in Washington state to “ban the box.” This new law limits when employers can inquire into and consider the criminal history of a job applicant. An employer may inquire into and generally consider a candidate’s criminal history, but only after conducting an in-person, telephonic, video interview, or if there is no interview, after a conditional offer of employment. The portions of Spokane’s ban-the-box ordinance applicable to private employers will go into effect on June 14, 2018, although the City has indicated that it will not impose any citations or fines for violations of the ordinance until after January 1, 2019.
Ogletree Deakins • December 27, 2017
With Washington State’s paid sick leave law taking effect on January 1, 2018, Washington employers should be prepared to implement statewide policies in addition to policies covering employees in SeaTac, Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma. However, employers should not overlook changes to the Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance that were adopted on December 15, 2017. The City of Seattle adopted Council Bill 119145 that amended Sections 14.16.010, 14.16.015, 14.16.020, 14.16.025, 14.16.030, 14.16.040, 14.16.045, 14.16.050, 14.16.055, 14.16.120, 14.22.010, and 14.22.020 of the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC).
Jackson Lewis P.C. • December 18, 2017
Washington has joined the growing list of jurisdictions requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to employees. All Washington employers, regardless of size, must provide their employees paid sick and safe leave (“PSSL”) starting January 1, 2018.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • November 28, 2017
Employers who refuse to hire job applicants who opposed discrimination in a prior job may be sued for retaliation under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), the Washington Supreme Court has held in a unanimous decision. Zhu v. North Central Educ. Servs. – ESD 171, No. 94209-9 (Nov. 9, 2017). The Court ruled that WLAD creates a cause of action for job applicants who claim a prospective employer refused to hire them in retaliation for prior opposition to discrimination against a different employer.
Ogletree Deakins • November 01, 2017
Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries has now concluded its process for drafting and finalizing the regulations for implementing Washington’s paid sick leave law, which becomes effective on January 1, 2018. Now employers can finish drafting legally compliant paid sick leave policies. The complementary enforcement regulations are still a work in progress and are not expected to be finalized until at least mid-December 2017.
Ogletree Deakins • October 17, 2017
The new Washington state Healthy Starts Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide accommodations to pregnant employees above and beyond those accommodations required by other available laws, including the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). Some of the required accommodations must be provided without medical certification and regardless of whether such accommodations would create an undue hardship.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 06, 2017
This article summarizes certain aspects of the current Washington State law of meal and rest breaks, taking into account the latest appellate ruling on the topic, Brady v. AutoZone Stores, Inc., 188 Wn.2d 576, 397 P.3d 120 (2017). The requirements described here apply to non-exempt adults in non-agricultural employment.
Fisher Phillips • September 21, 2017
The past year has brought multiple new workplace laws that will require employers in Washington to change several key policies and procedures. Below is an update that provides a general overview to help you prepare for these new laws, in the order of the effective dates of each law.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 11, 2017
Washington recently enacted new workplace accommodation protections for pregnant employees.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • August 30, 2017
Washington’s legislature recently passed a new Healthy Starts Act (the “Act”),1 which places significant obligations on Washington employers with respect to pregnant employees. These new obligations are not otherwise required under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (“WLAD”) or the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The Act, which became effective July 23, 2017, requires Washington employers with 15 or more employees to reasonably accommodate pregnant employees regardless of a disability, provides a list of such accommodations to be considered, and places specific prohibitions upon employers with respect to such accommodations.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 07, 2017
Not to be outdone by the recent attention to biometric information in Illinois, and the Prairie State’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), Washington enacted a biometric data protection statute of its own, HB 1493, which became effective July 23, 2017.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • July 25, 2017
All Washington employers must provide paid family and medical leave under a bill signed by Governor Jay Inslee on July 5, 2017.
Ogletree Deakins • July 10, 2017
With Governor Inslee’s signature on July 5, 2017, Washington State joined just a handful of states mandating paid family and medical leave. Washington’s leave is funded by both employers and employees, and employees will be eligible to receive benefits beginning in 2020. The new paid leave program provides benefits of up to 90 percent of the employee’s income and matches Washington, D.C., in providing the highest percentage of income benefit of any state or district in the United States.
When Seattle raised its minimum wage from $9.47 to $11.00 in 2015, the increase had little effect on employment.
Fisher Phillips • April 04, 2017
We’ve written before about a proposal in New York that would permit gig companies to pay into a benefit fund for workers allowing them freedom to develop portable benefits; now, Washington state is considering a similar concept. House Bill 2109, introduced this legislative session, would take a giant leap by creating portable, prorated, universal benefits for workers in the sharing economy.
XpertHR • February 16, 2017
The Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS) has proposed revisions to the city's minimum wage rules.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • December 23, 2016
November 2016 was a dynamic month for laws relating to Washington State workers. At the state level, Washington voters approved Initiative Measure No. 1433 (“the Law”), which provides incremental increases of the state minimum wage beginning January 1, 2017 and paid sick leave beginning January 1, 2018. Washington was one of two states—the other being Arizona—to approve ballot measures providing for paid sick leave during the November general election. Washington and Arizona join five other states—California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont and numerous other localities including the Washington cities of Seattle, Tacoma and Spokane— who already require employers to provide employees paid sick leave. Locally, Seattle voters also approved Initiative 124, which imposes new and significant health and safety, healthcare, and hiring requirements on the City’s hotel industry.1
Ogletree Deakins • November 10, 2016
With all of the votes counted, Initiative 1433, which will raise the minimum wage and require paid sick leave throughout Washington, has passed by a fairly wide margin. The first substantial increase in the minimum wage begins on January 1, 2017, while the paid sick leave requirement goes into effect on January 1, 2018. Here are the key details about both the minimum wage increase and the paid sick leave requirements.
Ogletree Deakins • September 23, 2016
The Seattle City Council unanimously passed a bill on September 19, 2016, enacting secure scheduling regulations for large employers in the retail and fast food businesses. Seattle is the second city, after San Francisco, to adopt such regulations. Mayor Ed Murray announced he plans to sign the ordinance within the next two weeks. The Seattle Secure Scheduling Ordinance will take effect on July 1, 2017.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 22, 2016
The City of Seattle has passed a bill requiring certain large employers operating within Seattle city limits to give their hourly workers advance notice of their schedules and to pay workers extra for being required to work on call. Mayor Ed Murray announced he plans to sign the Secure Scheduling Ordinance. The bill will go into effect on July 1, 2017.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • September 21, 2016
As widely anticipated, on September 19, 2016, the Seattle City Council passed the Secure Scheduling Ordinance (SSO), CB 118765,1 by a unanimous vote. The SSO mandates that large retail and food service employers provide two weeks’ advance notice to employees of their schedules, and compensate employees for alterations to their scheduled hours. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has publicly supported the SSO, and is expected to sign it promptly. Even if Mayor Murray does not approve the SSO, it will take effect pursuant to Seattle Municipal Code § 1.04.020 on July 1, 2017.
Fisher Phillips • September 12, 2016
In keeping with its goal of pioneering workers’ rights, Seattle’s City Council is expected to pass its Secure Scheduling Ordinance this fall, requiring certain retail and food establishments to provide both a “livable wage” and a “livable schedule” to their employees. While originally designed to imitate San Francisco’s secure scheduling law for large “formula” retailers, Seattle’s proposed ordinance will far surpass San Francisco’s in its employee and employer coverage, onerous requirements, and penalties.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 22, 2016
The Seattle Mayor’s Office has proposed a Secure Scheduling Proposal that would require certain large employers operating within Seattle city limits to give their hourly workers advance notice of their schedules and to pay workers extra for being required to work on call.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • August 11, 2016
According to Ballotpedia, 140 state ballot initiatives in 35 states have already been certified for the November 8, 2016 election. This number does not include the many city-wide measures that will be before voters on Election Day. These ballot questions touch on a variety of topics, including raising the minimum wage, legalizing marijuana, and mandating paid sick leave. Among these measures is Seattle Initiative 124, which would impose new and significant health and safety, healthcare, and hiring requirements on the City’s hotel industry.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • March 29, 2016
Seattle, Washington has amended the quartet of laws addressing labor standards (Seattle Sick Time and Safe Time Ordinance, Seattle Fair Chance Employment Ordinance, Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance, and Seattle Wage Theft Ordinance). These changes affect, among other things, notice and posting requirements and also strengthen enforcement.
Ogletree Deakins • March 21, 2016
On January 25, 2016, the Spokane City Council overturned the Spokane mayor’s veto and passed Ordinance C-35300, which provides paid sick and safe leave to employees performing more than 240 hours of work in the city of Spokane in a calendar year. Spokane follows the cities of Seattle, Tacoma, and SeaTac in implementing paid leave ordinances in Washington. The ordinance requires employers to provide employees with one hour of paid sick and safe leave for every 30 hours worked starting on January 1, 2017. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the new law.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 10, 2016
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has challenged the Seattle City Ordinance giving drivers of app-based transportation companies that use independent contractors to provide services (such as Uber and Lyft) the right to collectively bargain. (See our post, Seattle City Council Enacts Ordinance Giving Drivers Right to Collectively Bargain, Legal Challenges Expected.)
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • March 01, 2016
2016 may be the most dynamic year yet for paid sick leave developments in Washington State. Two months into the new year we have already seen significant changes to the Seattle sick and safe time law, a new paid leave ordinance taking effect in Tacoma, and a new ordinance enacted in Spokane. At the state level, legislators are considering a bill to mandate paid sick leave statewide.
Ogletree Deakins • January 20, 2016
Seattle Mayor Edward B. Murray recently signed a measure strengthening the city’s ability to enforce minimum wage and other workplace standards. The Wage Theft Prevention and Labor Standards Harmonization Ordinance 2015 harmonizes enforcement procedures, allows for a phased-in private cause of action, and provides key definitions of terms in the Minimum Wage, Administrative Wage Theft, Paid Sick and Safe Time, and Job Assistance ordinances.
Fisher Phillips • January 14, 2016
Effective January 1, 2017, Spokane will join Seattle, Sea-Tac, and Tacoma as cities in Washington requiring employers to provide mandatory employee paid sick and safe leave. On Monday, January 11, 2016, Spokane’s City Council passed Ordinance No. C-35300, which provides the basic structure for a paid sick leave law that will go into effect next year.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • January 13, 2016
Spokane may soon be the first 2016 PSL jurisdiction. Just 11 days into the New Year, its City Council passed a PSL ordinance. (Ordinance No. C35300). The mayor has vowed to veto it but the Council passed the ordinance by a wider margin than needed to override that veto.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • December 31, 2015
Landmark legislation giving drivers of app-based transportation companies, such as Uber and Lyft, the right to collectively bargain, has been passed by the Seattle City Council. However, the new law faces significant legal hurdles.
Fisher Phillips • December 21, 2015
Amidst the uber-media commotion over the Seattle City Council’s December 14 adoption of a law allowing independent contractor rideshare drivers to unionize, many missed that Seattle also passed a significant bill amending Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Leave law to give it serious enforcement teeth. Among other new provisions, noncompliance now means facing higher civil penalties and a lawsuit from your employees – with the potential for an award of treble damages.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • December 07, 2015
Another Washington court has held that an employer lawfully may terminate an employee for using marijuana, even when the employee had a prescription and used it off-duty. Swaw v. Safeway, Inc., No. C15-939 (W.D. Wash. Nov. 20, 2015).
Fisher Phillips • September 28, 2015
Tacoma has now joined Seattle as the third city in Washington State to mandate paid sick leave for employees (certain hospitality and transportation workers employees in SeaTac also receive this benefit). The new law will go into effect February 1, 2016.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • September 21, 2015
On August 5, 2015, the City of Tacoma, Washington published its final Paid Leave Rules (“Rules”) implementing Tacoma’s Paid Leave Ordinance (“Ordinance”).1 The Ordinance requires nearly all private sector employers to provide employees who work in Tacoma specified amounts of accrued, job-protected paid leave for personal illness, family care, domestic violence and bereavement starting February 1, 2016.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • September 01, 2015
A metal casting company lawfully terminated an employee for his threats of violence to other employees, despite a claim that his depression/stress made him do it, the federal appeals court covering Oregon and Washington has ruled, upholding the dismissal of the employee’s disability discrimination lawsuit. Mayo v. PCC Structurals, Inc.
Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 13, 2015
Whenever I discuss federal law here on the blog, I usually add a disclaimer that reminds employers to check state and local laws before proceeding. With the proliferation of minimum wage increases, minding state and local laws is more important than ever. However, state laws can affect more than just the minimum wage. For instance, recently when answering questions certified to it by a federal district court, the Washington Supreme Court held that—as a matter of Washington state law—employers must pay employees for their rest breaks separately from their piece rate pay. The court further held that Washington law required that employers pay for those rest breaks at the greater of applicable minimum wage or the employee’s regular rate.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • June 01, 2015
Earlier this year, the City Council of Tacoma, Washington approved a Paid Leave Ordinance (“Ordinance”).1 Starting February 1, 2016, nearly all private sector employers must provide employees who work in Tacoma specified amounts of accrued, job-protected paid leave for personal illness, family care, domestic violence, and bereavement. Tacoma is now the third city in Washington State, joining Seattle and SeaTac, to require that employers provide a paid leave benefit.
Fisher Phillips • November 14, 2012
On November 6, 2012, Washington became a national trailblazer when voters approved a state initiative legalizing the recreational use of marijuana (Colorado passed a similar law the same day). As of December 6, 2012, it will no longer be illegal for adults over the age of 21 to possess one ounce of marijuana. The good news for employers: the new law does not change employers’ rights in any way, and zero tolerance policies may still be enforced.
Fisher Phillips • October 24, 2012
On September 1, 2012, Seattle's paid sick and safe-leave ordinance went into effect. The ordinance will require nearly all private-sector employers to provide employees who work in Seattle with specified amounts of accrued paid sick and safe time (PSST). Sick leave is, of course, self explanatory. "Safe leave" refers to time off related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Ogletree Deakins • August 30, 2012
Effective September 1, 2012, most private employers that have employees working within the city of Seattle, Washington will be required to provide such employees specific amounts of paid leave for use for personal illness, family care, absences related to closures due to public hazards, and absences relating to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and the state of Connecticut also have similar laws on the books.
Fisher Phillips • June 14, 2011
On June 9, 2011, the Washington Supreme Court handed employers a comprehensive victory in the long-running medical marijuana battle, deciding that employers need not accommodate an employee's use of medical marijuana, and that employees terminated for medical marijuana use â€“ even offsite use â€“ have no basis to sue their employers. Roe v. TeleTech Customer Care Mgmt.